Earnie Larsen, author of “Stage II Recovery – Life Beyond Addiction” helped us understand that recovery unfolds in stages. The first stage is concerned with getting and staying clean and sober. We can think about this stage as breaking the bond of addiction.

But as Earnie noted, getting out of a bad place is not the same as getting into a better place. Stage 2 is concerned with getting into a better place. For Earnie getting into a better place happens when we learn to have healthy relations. But what does it mean to have healthy relations? Let’s take a look at some of the insights that Bill Wilson, a pioneer in recovery, that will help us answer this question. Bill discovered that we needed to face our “defective relationships” with others because these were at the heart of our problem. When discussing Step 8 in Twelve Steps and Twelve Traditions he pointed out the following, “Since defective relations have nearly always been the immediate causes of our woes, including our alcoholism, no field of investigation could yield more satisfying and valuable rewards than this one. Calm thoughtful reflection about relations could deepen our insights. (p.80)”

What is it that we learn from a calm and thoughtful introspection about our relations. If we are honest with ourselves we will be able to see that we are too emotionally dependent on others for our self-esteem and validation. This is referred to as “other validated self esteem.” Bill called this “absolute dependence” whereas I like to think of it as emotional dependency.

When we are emotionally dependent we make other people too important. We allow them to define us and edit our reality. We look to them to determine how we should think or feel about ourselves. We turn over to them our emotional center of gravity. The more important we make them, the more trouble…READ THE FULL ARTICLE

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